Thursday, June 7, 2012

Bunker Maintenance

 Over the past 4 weeks we have been doing some extensive work to all of our bunkers.  We are about 95% complete with the bunker edging and reshaping process.  This process not only enhances the playability of the course it also enhances the visual look of the course.  Over the course of a year with our irrigation cycles, rain, wind, daily raking, and play, the sand will migrate around the bunker, so we move the sand back to its proper location.  Our ultimate goal is to have a consistent 6" depth in the bottom of the bunker, and a 4" depth on all slopes.
Bunker before any work begins
Above is the right greenside bunker on #4 before we have begun any work.  Notice the large lip around the edge between the sand and the turf, as well as the grass creeping in along the left side of the bunker.
using reciprocator to put clean edge on bunker
This is one of our seasonal employees, JP, using the reciprocator tool to cut a clean line along the edge of the bunker.  The reciprocator is a great tool that is two metal discs that move back and forth opposite of each other creating a scissor action.  This scissor action easily cuts the turf without throwing any debris at the operator.
close up of reciprocator
Here is a closeup of the reciprocator in action. This image also shows the overgrowth of turf into the bunker.  It is our goal to only remove as much turf as necessary.  Over a period of 5 to 6 years if we remove even 2" of extra material per year, that will make the bunkers another 12" larger along the edge changing the overall design of the bunkers.
moving sand after edging
After the bunker has been edged and the excess material has been removed we begin the process of moving sand around.  We have added sand to 16 bunkers to achieve the proper 6" and 4" depths.  But a majority of the bunkers just need the magic work of Eric Porter on the bunker machine.  There is a lot of shoveling and raking involved in the edging process as well, making it a very labor intensive job to complete.
good image of sand before and after it has been moved
 The top of the above image shows the old level of the sand near the top of the bunker, and then on the lower half of the image you can see the new level of sand after it has been reshaped.

bunker edging complete
Here is the same bunker completely finished.  The process takes 3 guys an averages of about 3 hours per bunker from start to finish, and with 63 bunkers on the course will take us about 6 weeks to complete, but it is well worth the effort.

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